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Howdy y’all! The Southerner in me has only one thing to say about Sunday’s Real Housewives of Orange County: Good gracious and bless their hearts…Alexis is wasted, Gretchen is hilarious, and Tamra is…human? Don’t shoot the messenger! Vicki continues to struggle with her feelings for Donn, and Peggy unwittingly finds herself in competition with (who else?) Alexis.

This episode, “Cutting Loose,” starts with Alexis and sidekick assistant Dylan shopping for cowboy boots for her upcoming trip to visit Gretchen in San Antonio, Texas. The poor salesman can’t find a boot with a high enough (or sexy enough) heel for Alexis’ taste, but at least she has on a pair of ridiculously tiny Daisy Duke shorts to counteract the conservative boot. Alexis is looking forward to the brief getaway from Jim and the kids, but admits she’s not a cowgirl or a girls’ trip kind of girl.

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After threatening her employees with more spankings, Vicki calls Tamra when she discovers online that Simon has been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. Simon apparently threw a retractable dog leash at Tamra and she called the police after he left her home. Tamra insists that she didn’t want him arrested, but instead just wanted him to know that he couldn’t behave that way without consequences. Tamra tells Vicki that Simon was taken into custody because the incident occurred in front of the pair’s children.

Alexis, Peggy, and Fernanda arrive in San Antonio to meet Gretchen, dressed like rodeo porn stars. They dish in the limo (Alexis practiced riding on Jim a mechanical bull before the trip!) before heading out to sight see in the Lone Star State, once again (un)dressed to impress. Gretchen takes a spill on the cobblestone sidewalk, blaming her sky-high heels (plausible). However, I’m thinking the girls boozing started before the cameras began rolling.

Gretchen quizzes the ladies about how they knew their man was “the one” which causes Alexis to one-up everything that comes out of Peggy’s mouth. Gretchen inquires as to what character traits the housewives found attractive in their spouses, and most of the “character attributes” had nothing to do with character. “He needs to own his own business so we could take off to Cabo for the weekend” or “He should own his own home.” Poor Gretchen…Slade isn’t measuring up to even the most superficial traits which sadly have absolutely nothing to do with character–something Slade is likely lacking as well. Lose-lose. Fernanda adds her two cents, saying she had been married twice, as she believed her union to Marian was a marriage. I am not going to start a debate, but in my opinion, Alexis should have kept her opinions to herself regarding Fernanda and Marian’s marriage. Ha! Who am I kidding? We all know it’s impossible for her to do that!

Tamra and Eddie are taking pictures of the leash to submit into evidence for a temporary restraining order against Simon. Tamra reveals to Eddie that former housewife Jeana Keough was the first to reach out to her after Simon’s arrest. Jeana has sent texts to Tamra telling her that the TRO isn’t the best course of action for her to take. Tamra arrives to court (late, shockingly), and leaves Eddie in the car as this is something she needs to face for herself. After three hours, it is determined that there isn’t enough evidence to press charges against Simon, and Tamra seems truly relieved.

In San Antonio, the ladies, normally used to lettuce leaves and air for dinner, dine on fried barbecue (and sidebar, it looks divine!). Alexis is also enjoying a giant appetizer of vodka. All of this food reminds Alexis of her past struggles with an eating disorder, and she opens about some issues she’s had with Jim. She reveals that, in the past, she was miserable that Jim kept her in a bubble and she felt she had to live up to unreasonable expectations. Alexis blames this trouble on their past divorces, even citing that it’s hard to be around she and Jim’s couple friends because approximately eight of ten of those couples are unfaithful. Was it just me, or did she cut her eyes at Peggy only to have Peggy glare back?

Vicki and Donn head out to a nice dinner, holding hands (what?) and begin joking around lightheartedly. They are both having issues with the proper words to convey Vicki’s upcoming opportunity to ride “that ice machine” at a hockey game: Zambuli? Zambruni? What do I have, not ADD, but?? I think the term Vicki was looking for was OCD, but poor Donn blurts out “anal” ending the fun. Tamra and Eddie arrive (late again!), and Eddie excuses himself so he doesn’t have to hear about the leash launch again. Tamra quickly fills in Donn and Vicki about Simon’s outburst and Jeana’s meddling. Eddie returns, and Donn does his best to bring back casual conversation, while Vicki robotically repeats “let’s talk about something else.” Donn saves the day–ZAMBONI–and celebratory fist bumps abound!

It’s time for two-stepping and bulls. Alexis and Fernanda boot scoot boogie across the dance floor, with Alexis revealing that Jesus won’t care if she dances with a lesbian, and Fernanda can explain her lifestyle to Him when the time comes. I am so glad she’s not at all hypocritical. The ladies see some live bulls and Gretchen makes a joke about them being named Vicki or Tamra. She’s actually had some great one-liners tonight. Gretchen and Alexis ride the mechanical bull, and it appears that Alexis must do this every other day or so (not just that one “test drive!”). The girl can ride a bull, which is a feat considering how drunk she is. In the limo on the way home, Alexis rambles on about how much fun she’s having, but makes sure to get in a dig about how Peggy’s lips are bigger than hers.

Tamra meets with Jeana and explains that she is upset about Jeana’s insistence on putting herself into Tamra and Simon’s situation. I am not one to make light of any kind of abuse, domestic or otherwise, and as much as I have my opinions on Tamra, the cameras weren’t rolling during the altercation with Simon. Jeana says she just can’t picture Simon acting like that and that Tamra shouldn’t have called the police. Regardless of what did or didn’t happen, what makes Jeana Keough an authority on anyone else’s relationship? Putting aside my personal opinions of Tamra (and trying to forget just for this one scene about all of her past behavior this season), I really felt for her when she was trying to communicate with Jeana. She made some very valid points, and I thought Jeana was ridiculously out of line. Of course, Tamra brings it back to reality when she exclaims, “I thought maybe Jeana had a relapse of mad cow disease, but I think she’s just a b*tch.” Funny, seeing as most of the episode has focused on cattle.

Gretchen, Fernanda, Alexis, and Peggy go horseback riding. The sign at the ranch reads, “Please Wait to be Mounted.” Gretchen laughs and says she needs that sign on her bedroom door. G is bringing the jokes tonight!

Tamra, seeming more and more human as the night progresses, tries to be strong in front of Eddie. Tamra has me all kinds of confused tonight because I actually feel kind of bad for her. I would like to be snarky, but I can’t. It just seems like a sad situation for all parties involved.

Next week, it’s the unveiling of Alexis Couture (also known as Christmas coming early!), Gretchen struggles to reconcile her feelings for Slade with his child support situation, and Vicki contemplates divorcing Donn.

On Watch What Happens Live, former O.C. housewives Lauri Peterson and Jeana Keough are in the clubhouse with Andy. There’s no drinking game, but when rehashing the night’s episode, the usually quiet Lauri admits that she thinks Jeana can often stick her nose where it doesn’t belong. Jeana tries to be diplomatic when discussing her meddling concern over Tamra and Simon’s situation, but it’s obvious she is just back pedaling because she realizes how horrible she was portrayed.

Alexis calls in to express her regret about her comments regarding Fernanda’s marriage. She says her statement was “judgmental and self-righteous” but Andy seems less than convinced. Do you think Alexis was sincerely remorseful or just doing her best damage control? We learn about past housewives, children, and random bystanders (Duff, anyone?) when Lauri and Jeana play Unsolved Mysteries of the O.C. Alumni, and the poll results reveal that 74% of those who responded are Team Tamra when it comes to Tamra and Jeana’s squabble. All in all it was a pretty calm clubhouse, but the sneak peek of Monday’s premiere of the Real Housewives of New Jersey’s new season made it all worthwhile! Mazel!

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE EPISODE, RECAP & WWHL? ARE YOU TEAM TAMRA OR TEAM JEANA? PLUS WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF ALEXIS’ COMMENTS & ACTIONS?

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